WASHOE COUNTY NEWS RELEASE
Washoe County Community Services, in collaboration with the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District (NTCD) and Gradex Construction recently won the Best in the Basin Award for Erosion Control for a new project in Incline Village. The Best in the Basin Awards Program from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency annually recognizes the best designed, planned and implemented projects in the Tahoe Basin that also stand out as environmentally compatible.
“This project is unique because it uses off-line, distributed rain gardens that treat stormwater close to the source,” said NTCD Project Engineer Meghan Kelly. “We are honored the project received the award and hope it encourages similar installations in other locations within the Tahoe Basin.”
The Hybrid Best Management Practices (BMP) Project installed eight Low-Impact Development (LID) features in the Washoe County right of way, including Tahoe’s first public rain gardens. NTCD designed the project with the help of Washoe County, and Gradex Construction installed the features. Preliminary monitoring results are promising for the removal of fine sediment and public opinion on the LID features is positive.
“We designed the rain gardens to be low maintenance and worked with adjacent homeowners on plant selection and aesthetics,” said NTCD environmental scientist Michael Pook. One homeowner even adopted a rain garden by agreeing to perform maintenance on the garden while the County maintains the sediment trap.”
The project was constructed in September 2012 within the Village Boulevard right of way between Peepsight Court and Driver Way. It includes eight small pilot rain gardens and infiltration features. The rain gardens consist of shallow, vegetated depressions behind the curb that accept the first flush rainwater and snowmelt from Village Boulevard.
“First flush runoff is the initial water that runs off the roadway and carries the highest pollutant load, including fine sediment particles, nitrogen and phosphorus which are the pollutants of concern affecting the clarity of Lake Tahoe,” said Washoe County Senior Engineer Kris Klein. “The rain gardens are designed to allow roadway runoff to infiltrate into the ground and filter out pollutants that would otherwise reach Lake Tahoe through the County storm drain system.”
Klein added the project will provide information on the cost effectiveness of small rain gardens in meeting the Lake Tahoe Total Maximum Daily Load to meet water quality standards.
Project funding was provided by Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Water Quality Mitigation funds and grants administered through the Nevada Division of State Lands, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and the United States Forest Service. Special monitoring assistance for the project was provided by the Desert Research Institute.
For more than two decades, the Best in the Basin program has recognized property owners, contractors, architects and planners whose work and investments are examples of exceptional planning, design and compatibility with the Lake Tahoe environment.